I have to admit, when the appointment of Andre was announced I was sceptical at best, dissapointed and afraid at worse. To my shame I had allowed the tabloid media poison printed about AVB to colour my view of his potential as a Tottenham manager. Less to my shame, I was concerned that we were placing the long term future of our football club in young, relatively inexperienced hands in the most hostile and unforgiving of football environments.
As time progressed and we pressed forward with impressive squad restructuring and the baseless tabloid agenda against this man became laughably obvious my fears relaxed. They were slightly provoked and aroused by the uninspiring start to our season, especially the failure to overcome Norwich and WBA at home, however the concern was tempered by the understanding that a new squad needs time, and a new manager needs even more.
The performances and the results have been steadily improving, the assuredness with which we play has been growing and the confidence of the players once again flourishing.'
Since then we have been getting stronger week-on-week. We travelled to Reading and made easy work of them despite the overblown pressure from the media and those who choose to boo at home games (sigh). We then welcomed one of the best teams in Serie A who were so concerned about us they only came for a point, being extremely lucky to leave with it.
The win over QPR had it’s elements of fortune but luck is a part of football and sometimes it smiles at you. There was nothing lucky about the formality at Carlisle (for which I made the trip and got Bronchitis for my troubles) a team of youngsters and fringe players barely went beyond a jog to despatch the League 2 outifit.
Then I made the slightly shorter journey north, to Manchester. I bought this ticket on the full understanding we would roll over and have our bellies tickled by United because that’s what happens, yeah? The win was overwhelming and for Andre, it seemed to mean just as much.
Following the miracle of Manchester we went to Panathinaikos and shrugged out a draw which is an unfair reflection of the game as we were cruising until one of their midfielders produced the through-ball of his career to level things up, still, a point away in Europe is not to be sniffed at. Finally on Sunday we overcame Aston Villa 2-0 but in truth it could have been 5-0. We could have been 2 up in the first five minutes and we totally dominated the game, apart from a solitary mistake from Lloris which almost lead to a goal for the visitors we looked very comfortable.
The performances and the results have been steadily improving, the assuredness with which we play has been growing and the confidence of the players once again flourishing. The difference with confidence in this team and confidence in Harry’s is that tactics were based on letting the players ‘go out and enjoy it’ and simply encouraging them, so when it was going well under Redknapp it was all smiles and no issues, when it went wrong, when it really mattered, too often Redknapp didn’t have the answer. AVB’s empire will not be built on sand, it will be built on hard work on the training ground and tactics in the dressing room as well as good communication with the squad so that when things go wrong he has an answer, a plan B, and the players have a solid basis to work and improve from, even when things are going well.
Slowly but surely AVB is building a vision of a hard working, efficient yet stylish Tottenham and long may it continue.